Ellen Saunders

  • I just watched Steven’s video on Writer’s Block, and I agree with much of what he says, but I have a question:

    What’s the mindset needed for submitting stories and writing
    letters to agents?

    There is a chunk of our jobs that is totally business/sales. I SUCK at self-promotion and always have, no matter what the field. I think my stories are…[Read more]

  • Ellen Saunders replied to the topic What is your purpose? in the forum Lifewriting 3 years ago

    I’ve been doing Salute to the Sun for so long I’d forgotten it HAD variations. I don’t do the twisting part, I should add that in.

    I’d committed to doing it every day for two weeks and have been amazed at the obstacles I’ve thrown in my own way. I’ve done better than 50 percent but that’s hardly a successful “commitment.” Tells me how much I’m…[Read more]

  • Ellen Saunders started the topic Hotseat chats in the forum Forum 3 years ago

    I tried to join the call twice today but my internet is wonky; the audio would cut out, start to buffer and never come back on. Problem was on my end, I’m sure.

    Soooo… anybody want to comment on ways the experience made them reconsider the shape of their stories, or how looking at someone else’s stories through the lens of the Hero’s Journey…[Read more]

  • Ellen Saunders replied to the topic Gratitudes in the forum Forum 3 years ago

    Well, let’s try this again…internet cut out and lost my previous post…

    …and ironically, my first gratitude is the technology that enables so many of us to connect and mobilize for political action.

    – I’m also grateful for a warm dry home and a full belly on a cold, dreary rain-filled day.
    – snuggles with cats.
    – progress on my novel.
    -…[Read more]

  • Meditation, I think. Moving meditation, perhaps. It has to incorporate reminding me what my purpose is, so perhaps the Salute to the Sun yoga asana that I do as a “prayer,” for lack of a better term, incorporating my life’s purpose. A shorter version of Mr. Barnes’ morning practice, which I don’t think I can yet get myself do daily.

  • I’m going to toss out a sideways observation. It depends on the emotional connections that exist to support those liberal or conservative attitudes.

    One’s attitudes about citizenship, equality and suffering, just to quickly pick three, are often deeply experience-based, with emotions evoked by those experiences binding those attitudes to certain…[Read more]

  • Yep, “best of” anthologies will give you a wide breadth of what’s out there. Your “best writers” and my “best writers” list might look totally different based on our personal interests and tastes, but those anthologies will give you a good idea of whose work to start looking for.

    And if you check the publication details in the back, you’ll find…[Read more]

  • Michael, I can’t speak to the publishing side of it, but I do know I also resisted writing short stories because I wanted to focus on novels. I finally caved because from a “teaching you the writing craft” perspective, short stories are a vastly more effective instructor.

    ALL the things you have to get right in a novel you have to get right in…[Read more]

  • I hadn’t forgotten the question, I just have a hard time seeing my strengths. Weaknesses I can go on about all day long…
    …So I’ll turn that around; a strength is my ability to see the flaw in plans, the weak spots. The places where it won’t work or might fail. (This makes me a LOT of fun to be around, lol.) I try to be good about keeping my…[Read more]

  • Ellen Saunders replied to the topic Gratitudes in the forum Forum 3 years, 1 month ago

    Gratitudes this week, in no particular order:
    — grateful for hot toddies;
    — grateful for the energy and dedication of the people who have stepped forward to try to mitigate any damage to civil rights that is coming;
    — grateful for a pellet stove on a cold dreary day;
    — grateful for those who look beyond our borders and work to help those…[Read more]

  • Ellen Saunders replied to the topic Gratitudes in the forum Forum 3 years, 1 month ago

    Keeping this going: Today I am grateful for teachers who are a calming, generous and determined voice for change.
    Grateful for a willingness to learn.
    Grateful for the ability to dust off, calm the busy-busy-trivia mind the holidays seem to feed, and to begin again.
    Grateful for a brief vacation from the busy-outrage-insanity-awareness tornado…[Read more]

  • I make a mean pie.

    LOL. That’s an excellent question, LaVeda. I’m going to have to think about that for awhile. I can come up with a lot of writing weaknesses but… it’s hard for me to celebrate any strengths, let alone say “this one” is my best. Thank you, I need to chew on that for a bit.

  • I fell into it.

    Too shy and awkward to be much of a storyteller at any age, but I always liked to read and daydreamed constantly, writing my own stories in my head. Had a theater-minded friend; we wrote a play in third grade.

    I found the high school newspaper, continued with the college paper — liked it because it gave me an excuse to talk to…[Read more]

  • I’ve only sold one story and I already know “you’re not a real writer” is going to be one of those things my brain spits at me until I croak.

    A lifetime of self-abuse is difficult to un-learn.

    Yeah. In therapy (again) for that one. Between that and the positive messages of this class, every resistant fiber in my being is being resistant to…[Read more]

  • Oh, it’s definitely on-the-nose, much more so than any beginning author could get away with — and I note she posted it free on her site; I’m not sure this is marketable. I think its power comes from incorporating an all-too-real-world emotionally shattering event into an existing universe her readers are already familiar with.

    Breaking it down…[Read more]

  • ******SPOILER*****

    The Beasts Who Fought For Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still by Catherynne Valente.

    …..analyzed using the Hero’s Journey…

    This is an odd story from a structure perspective but a perfectly natural story from a fairy tale perspective, so I’m not sure I’m getting this right. Go read it, link above, and tell me…[Read more]

  • Okay, I’ll try it…

  • All that said, I’m really looking forward to (and dreading) sinking my teeth into the challenge Steve and Tananarive issued around applying the questions of the Hero’s Journey to our own lives. Considering myself as a boring introvert, it had never occurred to me to do that (I’m no exciting hero).

    Abruptly I’m seeing it as a startlingly useful…[Read more]

  • I have similar issues with the Hero’s Journey. Not to slight Joseph Campbell or his a tremendous body of research, but it seems to me that he privileged Euro-centric storytelling in crafting the Hero’s Journey.

    I read Seven Arrows by Hyemeyohsts Storm in college. It came out in 1972, and I don’t know how well it has aged, but I remember…[Read more]

  • Oh… there’s also this odd… anxiety reaction that happens when I sit down. I’ll just be getting started: say I’ve identified a character/setting/problem for a short story practice, and I’ve just started the first few sentences…

    …Suddenly I’m full of anxious/bottled energy. Vibrating. And I almost without fail get up and get myself coffee…[Read more]

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